26th Oct 2016 | Piyush Shekhar | ★★★★★ (5/5)

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

It has been noticed that when candidates are asked the “tell me about your strengths and weaknesses” question, they struggle a lot. They respond in ways that cause them to look shaky infront of the HR manager. Frankly, no one likes to talk about their weaknesses, but avoiding this question in an interview makes the HR personnel wonder whether you have something to hide. What the interviewer really wants to know from this question is something special that sets you apart from other candidates. Afterall, an interview is nothing more but standing out from your competitors.

How to answer what are your strengths?

When asked the above question in a job interview, make sure that you don’t answer with the following overused strengths. They have become clichéd and are a thing of the last decade:

Critical thinker – a real-life example works

Reliable

Hard worker

Team player

Quick learner

Dependable - substantiate with an incident

To answer this question aptly, think back of a situation when you have exceeded your own expectations, or received positive praise from your peers, professors or boss. A good example of strength would be a situation in which you were pitted against undesirable circumstance and were still able to come out successful. Maybe you had a college project where two team members were not cooperating; describe how you managed the situation to successfully complete the project.

How to answer what are your weaknesses?

First and foremost, do try to avoid the below responses as the HR interviewer can sense that either you are beating around the bush or you are clueless altogether:

Re-phrasing a strength and saying that it’s both your strength and weakness

Perfectionist

Don't know - answering this will make sure you lose any chance of further selection

Caring too much

Now, the one mantra to answer the weaknesses question is to be be truthful. Alongwith that, always provide examples of how you have kept your weakness in control, or that you are continuously working on improving your weak areas.

If you mention a weakness that is important to the job, for example: if your weakness is in meeting deadlines (many people actually have this), then you really need to provide well thought-out ways as to how you have been able to meet deadlines in the past and how you’ve used analytical skills to improve upon this weakness. For this particular example, you can say that you have started splitting the project into multiple sections and are attending to each of them one by one.


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